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Away Rotations

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Do I need to do an away rotation?

It depends; some specialties expect or strongly encourage away rotations be completed. If you are in the military, you likely will also be required to do aways with your specialty. If you are interested in matching at a particular program, doing an away there can be an advantage. The away experience provides an audition experience and allows you to become a known entity to the program. Please check with your specialty career mentor or the Specialty Preparation Guides to determine if an away rotation is suggested for you. If you do not already have a career mentor, you can request one at

Where do I start?

The first step is to make an appointment with your lead advisor to go over your plan and create a realistic timeline for feasibility and completion of requirements. Your lead advisor will also help to ensure your plan meets IUSM graduation requirements and will help you complete the required special elective form. You must complete the special elective form for any away rotations in order to have malpractice insurance coverage and to receive credit for the experience.

When should I do an away rotation?

Away rotations will most benefit your application if you complete them prior to the end of August (in some cases, September). This will allow you to have a letter of recommendation from the program included in your residency application. Away rotations later in the year will still give you the opportunity to show off your skills to a particular program before rank lists are due, but may not be as impactful on your overall application. It is generally recommended that you first complete an IUSM rotation in your intended specialty, though this may not always be possible. Speak with your career mentor for more information.

How do I apply for an away rotation?

The majority of programs will use the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) program ( through the AAMC to receive applications for away rotations. Some programs have their own internal application process outside of VSLO, and not all away opportunities are not listed in VSLO. If there is a program you are particularly interested in and to review program requirements and application procedures, Google “school name + visiting medical student”.

How do IUSM students get access to VSLO?

The Registrar’s Office emails VSLO tokens in January to the entire Phase 2 class. Students can also request a VSLO token by directly emailing the Registrar’s Office. The current contact is Kim Sandrick (

Can I receive IUSM credit for an away rotation?

Yes, you may receive credit for an away rotation and will need to submit the special elective form. There is no limit to the number of away rotations you can complete, as long as graduation requirements are being met. Be sure to review the requirements with your lead advisor. (

What IUSM paperwork do I need to submit to enroll in an away rotation?

As soon as you receive the acceptance from the visiting institution for the away rotation, you must submit the special elective enrollment paperwork ( This is required to receive credit for your away rotation and to ensure that you have malpractice insurance coverage during the away rotation experience. VSLO does not notify IUSM when you have been accepted. You will need to complete the special elective form in order for us to know!

How long does it take for my application to be released by IUSM?

Not long. Your application is processed by IUSM quickly if all the requirements are included.

How do I optimize my chances for success in getting an away rotation?

There will be competition for away rotation spots. To give yourself the best chance at securing a spot, give the program multiple months that you would be willing to attend. You can apply to multiple programs at the same time and should withdraw your pending applications for the same month as you receive offers for away rotations.

What happens after I am accepted to a VSLO elective?

You will receive an email stating that you have been accepted to the rotation. You will need to confirm the offer within the stated timeline. Specific instructions should be given in the email. The next thing you need to do is complete and submit the IUSM special elective form. Most away rotations do not provide housing. In most cases, the acceptance email will include information about obtaining housing. If it does not, contact the program coordinator at the away program about housing options.

Will it hurt me to withdraw my application or cancel an away?

Not generally. For most programs, the decision makers for the away rotation are not the decision makers for the residency applications. Programs expect applications to be withdrawn as students accept rotations elsewhere. You can also politely cancel a previously accepted away but should do so only if you are giving the program plenty of time to fill the spot.

What should I do while I am on the away rotation?

Do your best! This is your chance to show the program what a fantastic resident you will be. Think of it as a month-long audition rotation. You should also be sure to obtain a letter of reference to add to your residency application if your away rotation occurs before ERAS applications open.

Immerse yourself in the program! This is also your opportunity to learn as much as possible about the away rotation site. Take advantage of all opportunities to interact with residents and faculty. Get to know the program well to help you decide if it is a place you would like to Match for your residency training. That Match is a 2-way process!

Review feedback from students who completed away rotations!


What is VSLO?

The AAMC Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) is a program that enables medical and public health students to pursue short-term learning opportunities in the United States and globally. The VSLO program supports students through the process of searching for electives, submitting applications, and completing their resulting educational experience(s). The VSLO program includes the following:

• Information about educational opportunities including pre-clinical, community-based global health, research, and clinical.

• An application service which allows medical students to search and apply for opportunities.

• A global and US network of participating institutions. IUSM participates in VSLO as part of the US network.

• The VSLO team, a group of AAMC professionals dedicated to supporting students through the application process.

How much do we pay for application fees?

The current VSLO charge is $15 per application. Application fees are per elective regardless of the number of requested dates for that elective. We encourage you to investigate any institution-specific fees when deciding to apply for an away rotation.

When are the catalogs for away opportunities published?

The VSLO system does not “close” and application opening dates are program specific. Programs will enter their rotation opportunities at different times. You will need to check back often! Some programs will have applications available starting in January with the majority beginning to take applications in March and April of your third year. Application decisions occur throughout the year.

What immunizations should I get in preparation for away rotations?

Most institutions will use the AAMC Standardized Immunization Form (SIF), however, this requirement is institution specific. Some of your away rotations may have their own institutional immunizations form to complete. You can complete these requirements using the IUPUI Campus Health Clinic or through your own provider.

What documents are required to apply for an away rotation using VSLO?

Each program will have its own individual requirements. Common requirements include a CV, IUSM transcript, professional headshot, Step scores, and personal statement. Some programs will require a letter of recommendation.

How should I name the documents that I will upload?

Keep the naming of your documents simple, appropriately named, and easy to understand what they are. (e.g. “CV_LastnameFirstname”).

How do I upload a Letter of Recommendation (LOR)?

If the Host institution requires a LOR, have the letter-writer e-mail an attachment of the LOR written on your behalf to the Registrar’s Office. Direct the email to Kim Sandrick ( Once received, we will upload it to VSLO. You will then be able to see the document designation on your VSLO portal and be able to assign to the specific school(s). Please be advised that this document will remain private.

How do I get my transcript uploaded?

Your application to VSLO must be completed first. The Registrar’s Office will upload your transcript once your application is complete and you have submitted it for review.

Do VSLO schools require Letters of Good Standing (LOGS)?

Typically, no. Good Standing is verified in VSLO by IUSM as part of the standard verification information, which includes malpractice insurance, completion of MS3 requirements, projected graduation date, HIPAA, OSHA, etc. We will comply if a school specifically requires a LOGS.

Which courses do I list on the application?

List your required core clerkships: internal medicine, family medicine, OB/Gyn, psychiatry, neurology, pediatrics, surgery, anesthesia. You can find your rotation end dates in MSAS.

What if the away rotation that I applied for requires a Criminal Background Check (CBC) report?

IUSM will upload your CBC on file from your application to IUSM, or you can go to and upload a copy yourself.

What if the away rotation that I applied for requires a Drug Screening (DS) report?

You will need to contact Student Health to obtain a drug screen. Some schools may have their own additional DS requirements.

What if the away rotation that I applied for requires OSHA Certification within one year of scheduled rotation?

The initial verification will be certified by ISUM in VSLO. If they require an actual certificate, you may download your certificate from the IU E-training portal and upload to your “Documents” in VSLO. The course is listed as “Bloodborne Pathogens Training.” It is the student’s responsibility to upload this certificate in VSLO upon request from the Host institution.

What if the away rotation that I applied for requires a copy of my HIPAA Certificate?

The initial verification will be certified by ISUM in VSLO. If they require an actual certificate, you may download your certificate from the IU E-training portal and upload to your “Documents” in VSLO. It is the student’s responsibility to upload this certificate in VSLO upon request from the Host institution.

What if the away rotation that I applied for requires more liability insurance than what is currently provided to us?

IUSM protects our students at a coverage of $1M/$3M per incident and aggregate respectively. If the specific rotation requires higher coverage, the student is solely responsible for the cost of the difference. Very few programs will require higher coverage. The cost of additional coverage is usually modest, so do not be deterred from applying to a program because of the requirement for additional coverage.

What if the away rotation that I applied for requires a copy of my BLS card?

The student is responsible for uploading a copy of their BLS card upon request from the Host institution. You can obtain your BLS card from If you have obtained a recent re-certification, be sure to update your file in MSAS!

What if the away rotation that I applied for requires a copy of my Mask Fit Certificate?

IUSM will certify Mask Fit in VSLO. However, if an actual certificate is requested by the host institution, it is the responsibility of the student to upload it into your “Documents” in VSLO. You can obtain your FIT testing results through the IUPUI campus health patient portal under medical records > lab/diagnostic reports.

What are affiliation agreements?

Affiliation agreements exist between schools and allow institutions to send and receive students for away rotations. Some host institutions will require affiliation agreements for you to be able to do a rotation there. IUSM does not require affiliation agreements in order for you to go. Please send all questions regarding the affiliation agreement process to MEDSTUDENT HOSP AFFILIATES.